Am I ready to add someone to my team?” Hot topic alert! As a business consultant and former salon owner, this is a question I get all the time. 

I see so many stylists jump the gun on this, and doing so can truly end up hurting your business. 

First and foremost, you have to make sure you can afford to pay an assistant. So, it’s best to have a business that is throwing a profit before bringing on an employee. But it’s also a much bigger deal to hire an employee than many realize.

You have to have all your ducks in a row. You have to have liability insurance. Ideally, a payroll service (I believe this is the best way to handle payroll and can’t recommend it enough). You have to have a job description and a duty list or handbook that clearly outlines your expectations and the rules and regulations in your business. I mean, there are so many things to think about. 

Still, you have to start somewhere. So, I wanted to give you the rundown before you dive in headfirst. 

Should I Hire an Assistant for My Salon or Service Business? 

Start by asking yourself the following questions: 

1. Am I at least 85% booked? 

Consistently! This is the right time to hire an assistant. If you are 50% booked and think you want to hire an assistant, I would reassess your booking first. Your income has to be able to support hiring an employee. However, if you are creeping up on 75-80% booked, now is probably a good time to at least start looking for your perfect assistant. A great place to look is at the beauty schools in your area. Spend time there by doing a demo or two and start to get connected with potential future assistant candidates. 

2. Can I afford to hire an employee?

You have to run your numbers to see if you won’t break the bank. How much will you pay them? How many hours will they work? Let’s not forget taxes as well. All of this adds up so quickly, so you want to be sure you have this stuff in place first. The last thing you want is to bring someone on board and run tight on cash flow. That defeats the purpose!

3. Do I have enough work for them to keep busy and be productive?

Do you have a client base that supports you having an assistant? Will you be able to double book and keep them busy while they are you with you? What is their job description? What will they do during downtime? OK, to be fair, that’s several questions, but the point is: You definitely don’t want to hire someone to just sit around — and they don’t want to sit around, either.

4. Am I turning clients away? 

If you are constantly turning clients away because you are way too busy, it may be time to hire an assistant. You want to keep track of overtime to be sure you are using accurate numbers. An assistant can allow you to take more guests without compromising the guest experience. 

These are just a few things to think about. I also want you to be sure you are very clear on your brand, brand mission, and core values in your business before you decide to bring on a new hire. This will allow you to attract the perfect assistant that is aligned with you and your brand which is of utmost importance to grow a successful, sustainable business.